Have you noticed “bad breath” coming from your own mouth and could think of no reason why? You aren’t suffering from an illness. You aren’t on any new medications. You don’t have dry mouth. You are regularly cleaning your mouth thoroughly like you have habitually done for years. You don’t smoke. You didn’t recently eat garlic or onion. You don’t have a sore in your mouth, and your gum tissue and teeth feel normally healthy. Yet, now you have bad breath.
As a dentist, I will check for the existence of cracks in teeth and dental fillings. Often cracks are at the root of your new problem. As food particles become trapped in crevices, bacteria feed on the particles and they proliferate in eroding enamel, resulting in cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Ill-fitting dentures can cause the same problems.
Cracks and ill-fitting dentures can be corrected. After treatment, your oral health will improve, your quality of life will improve, and your friends and family will appreciate the return of your “fresh” breath.
Craze lines are tiny cracks that affect only the outer enamel. These cracks are extremely common in adult teeth. Craze lines are very shallow, cause no pain, and are of no concern beyond appearances. But, when a crack extends farther into the enamel or a tooth cusp breaks (often around a filling), a restorative treatment such as a filling or crown will preserve the damaged tooth…and if treated soon enough, prevent pain and more extensive damage.
You might have cracks that are holding bacteria, and you might not have pain associated with those cracks, but if treatment is delayed too long, bad breath will be your least problem. Decay may reach the roots causing painful infection, requiring root canal therapy and a crown, or extraction of the tooth. So, don’t ignore unexplained bad breath and do keep regular dental appointments for cleanings and checkups so cracks in enamel and fillings can be discovered early for most conservative treatment, hopefully with a simple composite filling.
If you wear a denture and are finding your breath has become problematical, thoroughly clean the denture. Bacteria caught in the crevices of the denture are likely to build up. When a denture becomes ill-fitting (a natural outcome of your jawbone resorbing over time), more space is open to food debris collecting in the nooks and crannies of the denture. There is a tendency for bad breath to develop in correlation with the lost fit of the denture. Dr. Jamie Alexander will be happy to examine your denture fit and recommend a healthy, comfortable solution that is right for you.
Compassionate care and attention to detail, including addressing your concerns about bad breath, are what we are here for. Don’t hesitate to ask for a bad breath evaluation. No oral health concern is trivial or silly.